President Mugabe hands over a sword to Army Commander Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio Sibanda for the best student, Wishes Manenji (left), at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru on July 12, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Put national interest first — President
Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:57
PRESIDENT Mugabe has implored Zimbabweans to put the well-being of the country ahead of foreign interests.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces made the plea during the pass out parade for Regular Officer Cadets at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru yesterday.
“I wish to remind all Zimbabweans throughout the length and breadth of our country and, indeed those outside the country that we should always put the well-being of our country first in everything we do.
“We should never, ever, put foreign interests ahead of those of our own people, be it in the constitution-making process, which is underway, in negotiating contracts, offering opinions and comments on our country even in sporting and other social activities.
Remember that no country can develop against a background of self-hate and pity within its own fabric,” President Mugabe said.
The President reminded the graduands that the country continues to bear the brunt of illegal economic sanctions imposed by Britain, the European Union, US and their allies.
“Contrary to the misguided views of some citizens of our country, these sanctions are not targetted but seek to hurt our economy as well as our people,” he said.
President Mugabe said many companies have closed down leaving people unemployed while those that have continued to operate are doing so far below their optimum capacity as a result of the illegal economic embargo.
“I take joy in noting that despite the existence of the illegal sanctions, the Zimbabwe Military Academy has continued to carry out its mandate and responsibility of educating and training junior officers in order to provide the nation with future military leaders of exemplary character and loyalty,” he said.
President Mugabe said the success of Regular Officer Cadet Courses since independence “answers the need to have a continous programme of recruiting young officers so that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is constantly rejuvinated”.
“It is common knowledge that organisations lose manpower through various ways such as death, retirement, dismissals, and voluntary retirement. Such losses have to be replaced through training programmes like the Regular Officer Cadet Course,” he said.
President Mugabe applauded the ZMA for ensuring that students had an opportunity during the course to visit Chimoio in Mozambique and the Freedom Camp shrines in Zambia.
“The trips served to broaden their comprehension of our country’s history. The visits were meant to allow the officer cadets to visualise the agonising and unforgettable journey that characterised the struggle for our independence and, consequently, enhance their understanding of the need to jealously and continously safeguard our national independence and sovereignty,” he said.
The Regular Officer Cadet Course started on August 16 2010 with 155 officer cadets who included five students from Namibia.
Of the 140 Zimbabwean cadets who constituted the initial enrolment, 100 were recruited from the country’s 10 administrative provinces while 40 were serving members of the Zimbabwe National Army.
The Namibian Defence Forces provided a contigent of four male cadets and one female.
Only 88 out of the initial 155 officer cadets graduated yesterday while 67 failed to meet the rigorous demands of training.
Of those who graduated, 11 were females and President Mugabe applauded the ZDF for embracing gender equality.
The President also hailed the symbiotic association between the ZMA and the Midlands State University.
“Regular Officer Cadet Course number 3/28/10, in similar manner to its predecessor, is graduating with a Diploma in Military Training and Education, in association with the MSU. This is indeed a positive development for the academy, which if properly nurtured, should culminate in cadets graduating with degrees,” he said.
The President said the graduation of Namibian officer cadets showed the cordial relations between the two countries.